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J Comp Neurol. 1991 Aug 15;310(3):316-36.

Electron-microscopic analysis of synaptic input from the perigeniculate nucleus to the A-laminae of the lateral geniculate nucleus in cats.

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Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794-5230.


The perigeniculate nucleus of carnivores is thought to be a part of the thalamic reticular nucleus related to visual centers of the thalamus. Physiological studies show that perigeniculate neurons, which are primarily GABAergic, provide feedback inhibition onto neurons in the lateral geniculate nucleus. However, little is known about the anatomical organization of this feedback pathway. To address this, we used two complementary tracing methods to label perigeniculate axons for electron microscopic study in the geniculate A-laminae: intracellular injection of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) to fill an individual perigeniculate cell and its axon; and anterograde transport of Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin to label a population of perigeniculate axons. Labeled perigeniculate terminals display features of F1 terminals in the geniculate neuropil: they are small, contain dark mitochondria, and form symmetric synaptic contacts. We found that most of the perigeniculate terminals (greater than 90%) contact geniculate cell dendrites in regions that also receive a rich innervation from terminals deriving from visual cortex (e.g., "cortico-recipient" dendrites). The remainder of the perigeniculate synapses (10%) contacted dendrites in regions that also received direct retinal input (e.g., "retino-recipient" dendrites). Serial reconstruction of segments of dendrites postsynaptic to perigeniculate terminals suggests that these terminals contact both classes of relay cell in the A-laminae (X and Y), although our preliminary conclusion is that an individual perigeniculate cell contacts only one class. Finally, our quantitative comparison between labeled perigeniculate terminals and unlabeled F1 terminals indicates that these perigeniculate terminals form a distinct subset of F1 terminals. We quantitatively compared the labeled perigeniculate terminals to unlabeled F1 terminals. Although the parameters of the perigeniculate terminals fell entirely within the range of those for the unlabeled F1 terminals, as populations, we found consistent differences between these two groups. We thus conclude that, as populations, other sources of F1 terminals are morphologically distinct from perigeniculate terminals and innervate different targets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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